Hitachi Electronics Advanced Research Labs claim to have developed a system that can read minds, depending on how we define ‘read’ (or ‘mind’, for that matter). The system measures frontal-lobe blood-flow by illuminating the brain with near-infrared light in an approach known as Optical Topography. The ‘reading’ process involves making reflectance measurements of IR light from a wide tissue area with minimal source-detector separation. Measurements are made either simultaneously, or in quick succession, allowing researchers to track brain activity with intervals as short as 100 milliseconds. Different thoughts produce changes in blood-flow within the frontal lobe area, which can be measured by the system. Characteristic patterns can then be translated into images or command equivalents for switching electronic devices.
The system works best in detecting signals from the cortex, similar to data gathered in EEG studies. The UK’s University College London (UCL) has built an OpTop system in their Biomedical Optics Research Lab capable of producing 3D images of the optical properties of tissues and “functional activation of the motor cortex”. This item was partly sourced from here.